Yucatán is rich in flora, fauna and cenotes (sinkholes) that will amaze you. All over the Península you can find “dzonot” created thousands of years ago, thanks to nature.
In Homún alone, only an hour from Mérida, located along the ring of cenotes formed by the Chicxulub crater, there are more than 15. Of these, five are accessible, whether as a relaxed family activity or as an extreme adventure for those who love the rush. You will find some cenotes at ground level; for others you will need to go down a metal or wooden staircase. The most interesting ones you will find in caves.
To get there: take the road toward Chichén Itzá, as far as Tahmek, and there follow the signs to Homún, a one hour ride. Take a swimsuit, comfortable shoes and clothes, waterproof backpack, and a towel.
Homún was part of the “Green Gold” era, an important area with vibrant life surrounding the henequén harvest. Nowadays it’s known for its caves, cenotes and fiestas. If you visit the town between July 6 and 14, you will be able to take part in the festival honoring San Buenaventura, a traditional party with “voladores” and pilgrimages.
In the town center you can visit the main plaza and the church dedicated to the patron saint, with its colorful atrium and henequén plants close by. If you are lucky you will be able to buy some local fruit, like the “huayas” (similar to lichi). Try them, they are delicious.
For the cenotes tour, you can hire a local guide with a mototaxi (maximum 4 passengers, $250 pesos), as the access isn’t easy for cars; check that he has touristic certification. Choose the number of cenotes you want to visit or ask your guide for his recommendation. At each one there is an entry fee of $25 pesos per person, it’s not included in the transportation cost.
It’s important that he tell you how to go down into the cenotes and where to step; also ask him to tell you Maya stories, you will be delighted! Remember that the Maya considered the cenotes as sacred sites.
For an accessible family experience, you can visit cenote Tza Ujun Kat, one of the more well known, close to the cemetery. It has a light opening that allows you to see the water in its beautiful green color. If you want to refresh yourself in the water, remember that you shouldn’t wear sunblock or insect repellent, so as not to contaminate the crystal clear water.
Cenote Canunchén is the next stop, located just outside of Homún, with a commercial area and entrance and exit stairs. Its ample size allows you to swim or practice cave diving.
The next stop is cenote Balmil, with butterflies to accompany you, a unique experience. Located outside of town, a huge poplar tree welcomes you, with a small light opening at the entrance. You will go down almost 10 meters to the crystalline waters; there you will see Toh birds and stalactites, and paintings representing hands. In this cave the Maya used to hide or perform sacred ceremonies.
If you still have time, visit the caves and cenotes of Santa María, and have a Maya mud experience; and the cenotes of Yaxcabaltún. You will return amazed with the underground life of Homún, a paradise that is waiting for you to discover.
Eloy Pisté (certified)
Cel. 9992 47 7567
More info: Located only 50 minutes from Mérida, there are more than 15 cenotes here: Open, closed, some with caverns and caves. There are small hotels and places to camp. From downtown Mérida there are colectivos which depart from Calle 67 x 50 y 52, that take you directly to the main plaza in Homún where there are guides ready to take you to the cenotes. Or you can contact Gabriel García, to reserve your experience, including transportation from Mérida if you wish: Cel. 9993 55 51 51.
By Violeta H. Cantarell
– Península de Yucatán